Interview with Youspots
LGC has been using this tool since we first launched our blog, we encourage everybody to try it!
Every time we visit the Youspots site there is an added functionality, to improve the user experience. You can tell the team behind it works with great passion for longboarding and extreme sports in general.
These young entrepreneurs have our deepest respect, they work very hard for us all enjoy spots everywhere. We thought it would be great for you guys to get to know the Youspots project better, with an insightful interview of the fun guys behind it…Enjoy!
How and when did the idea of a tool like this come up?
The idea came up when Enrico started looking for Longboarding spots in his home town Dresden. He didn’t have a car but works on his computer a lot so he looked for spots on the internet but couldn’t find anything even remotely useful. Since he’s been into web development for over 10 years he started to play around with Google Maps and started creating a site on his own: Something that would enable people to find and share hills. A few people soon joined in and it all expanded way beyond what he had imagined and Youspots is now covering over 50 action sports and grew to be the largest database for downhill skate spots ever.
Who is the Youspots team? Please tell us about yourselves and what each of you do.
The core team consists of five people, all Longboarders, Freeboarders and/or Snowboarders: Enrico, Yannick, Léo, Juliet and Max. Half of us have been friends for ages and the others have joined us along the way for the love of it. A few others help us through contributing ideas and feedback and help testing the site.
Can you briefly explain how the tool works and what new applications you are developing? Is Youspots reaching mobile?
Generally, anybody can add spots to our map and finding spots is really simple. We encourage users to share as many details as they can. Videos, pictures, street condition, best time to visit, difficulty level, skate park setup or anything else they want to add will give people a better idea of what a spot is about. Share your experiences! You can see how steep a hill is and we built in a meet and greet section for each spot so people can arrange meet-ups or contact the locals. On top of that Youspotters can review, edit and comment on each spot so that the database will be kept up to date.
Youspots mobile will come in two versions: An Android phone app to find and share spots on the go and a webpage based app. Simply go to youspots.com and you will get redirected to a mobile version of the service. We hope to get it finished within this year.
How many spots and sports are listed on Youspots?
For now we cover 52 different sports in five categories: Street, water, air, off-road and other. Of the 3500 spots that have been shared by our users so far, almost 70% are downhill skate spots. The database is growing everyday and people from all over the world are sharing amazing spots. Within the first few months Youspots grew to be the largest downhill skate database on the planet.
Who uses Youspots? Only individual users or also crews, teams, clubs, shops, etc? What are the different benefits each one of them can get?
We have users and spots on all continents. For now there are mostly individuals but that will change soon. Longboard Europe just opened the first group account and we are working on a feature that will allow them to add members to their “group/crew”.
Our agenda is far stretched and building a worldwide database for all action sports requires a lot of people sharing good spots. Getting the message out there is our biggest challenge. Marketing costs money we don’t have yet. Yet we get a lot of positive feedback, the technology works and the opportunities are there. Now we would like to see more people contributing. In the end everybody profits. Dresden (where Enrico was initially looking for Spots) now lists over 80 spots and people are riding together on a regular basis. That’s exactly what we want to achieve in all cities!
Do you currently collaborate with other sites/companies?
The Youspots Map can be embedded into any website for free. In terms of Longboarding we have several skate sites using the service already to display either single spots or a map of all skate spots in their city/country/continent. LGC were the first to add a Spot Section to their blog and we believe that every platform that wants to promote action sports will benefit from this feature: athletes, social networks, online platforms, forums, crews, clubs, companies and everybody with a love for sports.
Also we’ve been doing contests with Freebord Germany whereas people could win equipment for sharing good spots and we are currently preparing our next contest with Mathilda Longboards who sponsored three of their custom decks to give away to our users.
How many people are using Youspots actively? What’s the feedback you are receiving?
There are about 500 people visiting the site every day. As mentioned above usually the feedback is overwhelming. People appreciate and use the service for different reasons and this helps us to get an idea of the sort of features we still need to develop and which ones to focus on. On the other hand people are reporting problems in functionality and suggestions and we are really grateful for that and work hard to implement as much as we can.
We know some people are suspicious about sharing their spots, they feel the spot is gonna get crowded, spoiled, etc, what you have to say about that?
These are very real dangers depending on the sport and the area you’re in. Since we are ourselves Longboarders, Freeborders and Snowboarders we are aware of the problems of making spots public. We put a lot of thought into this and came up with some possible solutions like password protection, private spots and community spots. You’ll find details in the full version of the interview.
In general, there will always be people who don’t want to share spots. We agree that some spots shouldn’t be made public. Yet most spots that people share won’t hurt anybody. The opposite often applies and often people make great friendships that come out of riding together. All of us at Youspots have met some friends at spots we didn’t know existed. Longboarding connects! We encourage people to share their experiences and if there are 30 good spots in a city, it is less likely for a single one to get overcrowded.
Do you have a funny story of Youspots that you want to share with the community?
Once we watched an awesome Freebord video on Vimeo and we were super stoked about the hill and wondered where it was so maybe we could ride it at some point. Enrico thought he had seen this video before and then copied the Vimeo link into our search engine and voilá: a detailed map of the spot and its exact location and steepness. It was even gonna get sunny the next few days. Yannick almost fell backwards of his chair when the spot came up and we looked at that gnarly first turn on Streetview. Unfortunately it was like 6000km away and we’re still waiting to ride it. We all have lists of spots now that we really want to check out as soon as we find some people for a massive road trip.
What are Youspots’ future plans?
For this year we’re working on a design make-over and features like groups and making events. What we’re aiming for long-term is a social network for action sports people with a focus on spots, videos (spoTV) and events. We want to organize contests and jams and we build sponsored teams for each sport.
And above all we want to have fun doing what we do! All of us have already met so many interesting people in so many sports scenes and this is really inspiring and already changed our lives. Longboarding makes us happy. And by that we mean not just stepping onto a Longboard and go ride but the whole thing!
Any last words?
Thanks for giving us the opportunity to push this to your followers. And thanks to all the people that supported us from early on!
People: Get involved! Contribute! Find spots! Meet people! Push Longboarding! Have fun! And tell your friends :)
For full interview version click HERE
May 9th, 2012, No comments yet
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